there were isolated incidences of bullying in my childhood but I think two things served to my aid 1. I didn't really care what the other kids thought (I was well aware that they didn't determine the outcome of my life, grown ups did, at least that's how I thought) and 2. I was actually pretty oblivious to most other people most of the time. I think bullying someone who doesn't actually *notice* the effort you put into insulting them half the time looses it's charm pretty quickly. I also, at least through middle school, had a tendency to punch and be very agressive if I felt cornered. By the time I reached high school I was very quiet but I could verbaly skin someone if the need presented itself and while I suffered from depression I seemed to have gained whatever it was that kept me from being ritualisticly bullied. My brother was not so lucky. He was little and got upset easily. He wasn't creative so he didn't write violent scenes of murder in his notebook when he was mad, he just yelled and turned red and that seemed to fuel his bullies more, and his teachers weren't much help. When my brother got some height and muscle on him I know he spent a good year or two paying back anyone who would have caused him problems when he was smaller. Lol, I remember someone came to me saying "did you know your brother had some guy pinned up against the locker today?" All I could do was shrug, esp when he said the guy was dealing drugs.
But, as a teacher I've seen bullying in a much less biased light. In both of my middle school classes there is a boy who is both younger and smaller than the rest of the students. One is(was? I think the problem is less now, at least in school, I don't know about after school, but I can't follow my student home) bullied, one is not. I spent a lot of time wondering about the cause of this. The one who was bullied was physically bigger than the one who wasn't so size wasn't the issue. No, it was more like...the child who was bullied didn't notice social cues, like when he was beginning to annoy the other kids, and if he didn't understand why I was telling him to do something (change desks, or stay where he was while someone else changed desks, or be quiet, or stop reading over the shoulder of the kid who normally pins you to a wall) which was often, he wouldn't do it. If there was free time he would often wander to the *very* point in class that would make him most phsically vulnerable (a corner, or a covey, or behind me where I couldn't see). And, when they started picking on him he had this high pitched whining cry, Interestingly similar to wounded prey, that would incess them to do it more. I felt bad for him but I admit, I also felt that if he didn't learn social-life preservation skills this would continue for quite some time. The other boy, the smaller one, was just as smart and just as young, but if someone pushed him he would usually just glare. He didn't talk a lot and that "dignity" if you will often seemed to trigger the protective instincts of some of the other students and so if there was trouble he ususally had aid in the form of someone bigger and older. It's a hard thing, both for teachers and for students. I can vouche that one of the boy's main bullies was a really good kid asside from that. Always did his work, got along well with others, was smart as all get out, kind to his siblings, participated in class, the whole bit. It's just...he hated that poor boy. I was often torn between wanting to throw the bullied kid out of class because it would make the whole class more harmonious without him, and wanting to throw everyone else out of the class because, despite the fact that the kid was annoying, their behavior was enethical and unwarrented and cruel.
It's a very complex issue.